The Empire Creed: Lex Talionis

With the most recent events regarding the U.S. and the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani, it’s hard not to feel the weight of the endless war games that come with countries “eye for an eye” agendas. This is nothing new. Throughout human civilization we have seen the non-stop vicious cycle of destruction when violent military actions is ensued upon others due to the law of retaliation mentality. When will we ever learn? Coming from the American perspective, I don’t know how anyone is feeling “proud” to be an “American” when we have our President twitting things like this:

“They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!” {1}

When can go back and forth all day on the propaganda that this President uses to infuse the masses (he’s just a puppet of Empire like all the presidents before him, imo…but I digress). I also don’t want to fall into the trap of the Pharisee spirit with Trump as well. We need to love all Gods image bearers and Trump is one of them (believe it or not hehe). In all reality, if we really step back and see what his type of rhetoric is compared to what we find in the Jesus tradition, we will find total opposing views on how we are to show those “who persecute us” aka enemies. Author Keith Giles did a great comparison on how us Americans who claim to be Christ-participants, should move and have our being in this current nationalistic political arena:

If Jesus is the Prince of Peace, the anti-Christ is the Prince of War.

If Jesus heals, the anti-Christ sheds blood.

If Jesus says we should love our enemy, the anti-Christ says we should torture them.

If Jesus commands us to bless those who curse us, the anti-Christ urges us to make war against them.

If Jesus says we should pray for those who persecute us, the anti-Christ says we ought to oppress and imprison them.

If Jesus tells us to care for the poor, the anti-Christ says we should just ignore them.

If Jesus says his disciples will not fight, the anti-Christ encourages us to glorify violence.

If Jesus says we should turn the other cheek, the anti-Christ says we should destroy the aggressor. {2}

I think this is well put. When it comes to seeing ourselves in the American landscape, are we not supposed to be for peace not war? We all can have our culture and enjoy what the American life can bring, not trying to shame anyone here. What I am simply implying is that there is a better way to engage what it means dealing with “enemies” (so-called that is). From just the history of America, when have been at war almost as long as we have been a country (93% {3}). When it comes to stepping into a reality that no longer engages in the Lex Talionis, I think we could see that good old “earth as it is in heaven” Jesus prayed about?

If you look at the history of Christianity, it’s interesting that we have done some beautiful things, but this war thing still is something we are having trouble with. The first 300 years of the Christian Church practices this non-violent resistance to the tee, but changed due to many factors:

The early church (the first 300 years) was strongly pacifist. Origen said that Christians “do not go forth as soldiers”. Tertullian wrote “only without the sword can the Christian wage war: for the Lord has abolished the sword.” Clement of Alexandria wrote “…he who holds the sword must cast it away and that if one of the faithful becomes a soldier he must be rejected by the Church, for he has scorned God.”

This changed rapidly in the time of Constantine – the Council of Arles in 314 said that to forbid “the state the right to go to war was to condemn it to extinction”, and shortly after that Christian philosophers began to formulate the doctrine of the Just War.

For many centuries Christians believed that it was right and proper to use violence (and thus war) to spread the faith and deal with its opponents. They did not regard violence as an inherently bad thing: whether it was bad or not depended on what it was being used for.

This thinking is covered under holy wars- the main examples of which, for Christians, are the Crusades.

From Constantine onwards Christian writers and preachers have used warlike and soldierly metaphors in their writing about the faith.

The idea that violence is not inherently bad can also be seen in some versions of the Just War doctrine – violence (war) can be a vital tool in restoring justice and peace. {4}

Where has this Just War doctrine lead us? Well, I can tell ya: The endless cycle of violence that only produces war not peace! Aren’t we tired of this shit! I mean come on people, wake the fuck up! Let’s get out of this rut of blood shed that leads only to more bloodshed and step into the Shalom Jesus came to represent. I know this leap is very frightening for some, but that is what faith is all about.

Are you ready to leap? I think it is time because we cannot afford this Empire Creed to casts its spell on us any longer. I mean look: It always seems to be a case of some ego driven Pharaoh of Empire looking to use the “might is right’” mentality to push some new agenda! We seen it from Constantine to Trump—will we ever learn our lesson—with the same old tune with the same old results…

Escalating violence results when mimetic rivals (who believe they’re fundamentally different) begin to mirror and imitate one another.

The President of Iran and the President of the U.S. will escalate violence, not because they’re different, but because they’re the same.-Brian Zahnd

Published by Jordan Hathcock

Just a dust-creature who loves experiencing the unknown. Deep, right? Ha! I have a beautiful wife, Kristyn (I call her Kbua) and 3 kids (one girl and two boys)- Brooklynn Brody, and Briggs. We live in Oceanside, CA. We love the beach, family and friends. Always wanting to seize the day and live in the NOW. LOVE a good joke! My purpose here is to show that God is love...and this God is EXACTLY like Jesus (love crucified). I am done with civil religion & empire and their deterrence to creations evolution to peace. I look forward to displaying that true love never fails to give life. Also, dualistic certainty is something that I want to expose. It is getting us nowhere in life. We have to learn to journey through the mystical fog and experience what trusting is all about. Lastly, I am all about having a sense a humor through it all so always looking to not take all of “life” to seriously. In all honesty, I am doing this for my kids. Maybe someday they would like to see their dads wacky ideas in writing. 😜

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